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50 Arrested for Election Campaign Violence

Police reported today that more than 50 persons have been arrested for creating disturbances at election rallies or perpetrating other acts of violence in connection with the upcoming Knesset elections. Eight suspects have been remanded in custody pending the completion of proceedings against them, the police said.

The latest rash of violence included false bomb threats at places where election rallies were to be held. “Senior police officers” were quoted by the news media today as saying that at least some of the disturbances which have marred Israel’s election campaign were planned and organized by lower echelon party activists. Most of the violence has been directed against Labor Alignment election rallies. Labor Party leaders have accused Likud of inspiring or condoning the incidents. Premier Menachem Begin hotly denied this but issued a call to “everyone” to refrain from creating disorder at election rallies.

ZAMIR ISSUES WARNING

Attorney General Yitzhak Zamir issued a warning yesterday that disturbances at election rallies constituted a criminal offense punishable by up to six months’ imprisonment. He said his office would take appropriate measures to assure legal action against such offenders as speedily as possible. Zamir said he considered such offenses to be very grave. “Such behavior endangers to a considerable extent the freedom of expression which is the basis for free elections and for democracy in Israel,” Zamir’s statement said.

Meanwhile Jerusalem police arrested Rabbi Meir Kahane, leader of the ultra-nationalist “Kach” party, for creating a disturbance at the Israel television studios. He and a group of supporters demanded that the broadcasters celebrate the anniversary of the maiming of the Arab mayors of Nablus and Ramallah a year ago when their cars were bombed. The perpetrators, widely believed to be Jewish terrorists, have not been apprehended.

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